In the final days before Ukrainians vote for a new president, the latest opinion poll suggests the current prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko might not get a look in.
Research by a Russian state-run polling company shows the two front runners to be the independent Serhiy Tyhypko and the opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich.
He is a native Russian speaker who has warm relations with Moscow and is cool about the current plans to join NATO as soon as possible. The latest research suggests he will sail through to the second round of voting with 30 per cent support.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has promised to take Ukraine into the EU within the next five years. And, although the latest poll predicts she will not make the run-off, analysts emphasise it is a Russian survey. In Ukraine, she is widely believed to be a strong contender.
With the current president Viktor Yushchenko hardly rating in the polls, the third leading candidate is the former central banker Serhiy Tyhypko. He leads the “Strong Ukraine” party. His slogan is “a strong president, a strong country.”